Jump to Navigation

Rescuing offline files in Vista from other user accounts

I never thought that this would happen, but it did. The “My Documents” folder has probably become one of the most important folders I use, so it needs to be backed up, which I did. I had them on my server, on my notebook and on my desktop computer. With my old server having raid 5, I was pretty sure that I’ll never lose them.

After reinstalling my server on the new raid 6 system, my files were still on both my notebook and desktop. I used Windows Offline Folders and Files (CSC) to keep my files safe and synced. It worked just fine and there were no problems at all. But now, after reinstalling the server, my Windows 2003 Domain has a new SID, meaning that I cannot logon to all the accounts from the old Domain anymore.

Okay, how am I supposed to get my files from my old account to the new account when the “My Documents” folder is a CSC-based (Client-Side-Cached) folder? My files were still there, but there was no chance to actually access them. Quite stupid, eh? After some googling, I still found no solution at all, so I started looking around by myself.

My first try was the C:\Users folder, which does contain a lot from my old account profile, but without the CSC files. I remembered that in Windows XP, CSC files used to be cached in “%WINDIR%\CSC” but having weird file names so no file can be identified. Still, I tried my luck and found out that in Vista, the CSC folder is simply locked away via security policies. After gaining the ownership of the folders via the security settings dialog, I found all offline files of all users nicely sorted in an easy searchable structure. Jackpot!

Luckily, I didn’t choose encrypted offline files or else I would have had to find a way to decrypt all the files…

Comments are closed.